Devils-Red Wings Preview
GAME: New Jersey Devils (26-12-10-1) at Detroit Red Wings (28-15-7-2).
TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
While the New Jersey Devils have broken out of their slump, the Detroit Red
Wings have fallen into one of their own.
The Devils seek their fourth straight victory as they continue a three-game
road trip with a matchup against the struggling Red Wings.
New Jersey stumbled to a 3-6-3 record from Dec. 21-Jan. 17, but has won five
of its last six. Detroit, meanwhile, has gone 2-4-2-1 after winning nine of the
The Devils, who failed to win consecutive games during their slump, opened
the trip with a somewhat sloppy 4-3 victory over Columbus on Tuesday night for
their first three-game win streak since Dec. 4-10.
The Devils led 3-0 after the first 20 minutes _ the first time they've
scored three goals in a period since Dec. 19 at Buffalo _ but gave up two goals
in the final 2:17 to make it close.
``We've got to put games away when we have the chance,'' said Patrik Elias,
who had a goal and an assist.
Grant Marshall scored in his first game against his former team and Martin
Brodeur stopped 28 shots to win his third straight start after going 1-4-1 in
his previous six.
``It's just clicking right now,'' said Marshall, who was traded to the
Devils late last season after spending nearly two years with the Blue Jackets.
``We're doing a lot of good things.''
New Jersey, battling Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division lead, concludes
its trip against St. Louis on Saturday.
The Wings return to Joe Louis Arena after going 1-2-2 on a five-game road
trip, concluding the stretch with a 2-2 tie against Dallas on Monday.
Pavel Datsyuk scored his team-leading 24th goal for Detroit, which held a
2-1 lead with 6:02 remaining before Stars defensemen Richard Matvichuk took
advantage of a lucky bounce to beat Manny Legace and give his team the draw.
``I didn't see it,'' said Legace, who started in place of the struggling
Curtis Joseph. ``I had 500 guys in front of me. I heard it hit some shin pads.
I looked down and it was right between my legs.''
Joseph is 1-4-1 in his last six games. He gave up four goals on eight shots
in Saturday's 5-2 loss at Phoenix before being replaced in the third period by
Dominik Hasek, whose return from retirement had pushed Joseph into a backup
role, is expected to be able to skate again in about a week as he continues to
rehabilitate an injured groin. Hasek has played just 14 games this season.
Despite their recent struggles, the first-place Red Wings still hold a
comfortable lead over the Blues in the Central Division.
Detroit is opening a two-game homestand that includes a matchup with
Carolina on Saturday.